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Predicting the NFC’s final wild card team: Making a case for the Eagles, Vikings and Saints

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You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m tellin’ you why … ’cause the Pick Six news is coming to town! No, I’m not Santa Claus, and I’m not John Breech either (he’s polishing the Bengals division-title plaque he ordered early). I’m Cody Benjamin, and I’m here to bring you all the latest from around the NFL on this fine Christmas Week Wednesday.

This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let’s get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don’t want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)

We’ve got playoff predictions, Week 16 power rankings, insider notes on the Bears‘ coaching job, and more:

Today’s show: Predicting the NFC’s final wild card team

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Ryan Wilson and John Breech joined Will Brinson on Wednesday’s “Pick Six NFL Podcast” to review Tuesday night’s divisional games and then forecast the NFC wild card race, which essentially has three teams — the Eagles, Saints and Vikings — fighting for the final spot. Some highlights from the discussion:

  • Brinson thinks the Eagles, 49ers and Colts all pose a similar threat if they make the playoffs, boasting a good rushing attack that can shorten games and scare superior opponents like the Buccaneers
  • Breech and Wilson are buying the Eagles as favorites for the No. 7 seed, with the former suggesting Philly is the “only one that has a realistic chance of going undefeated” over the final three weeks
  • All three agree that the Vikings have a feasible path to taking the final spot, so long as Kirk Cousins shows up
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Catch the full episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.

Prisco’s Power Rankings: Chiefs, Rams climb into top five

Pete Prisco shook up the entire top half of his power rankings ahead of Week 16. Green Bay is still on top as the front-runner for the NFC’s No. 1 seed, but the reigning AFC champion Chiefs are now right behind them, along with two other NFC heavyweights. Check out his latest top 10 here:

  1. Packers
  2. Chiefs (+3)
  3. Cowboys (+4)
  4. Rams (+5)
  5. Buccaneers (-3)
  6. Patriots (-3)
  7. Bills (+3)
  8. Cardinals (-4)
  9. Titans (-3)
  10. Chargers (-2)

Insider notes: Bears should dismiss Nagy; 2022 coaching fits

Matt Nagy
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Jason La Canfora doesn’t see any point in Chicago letting Matt Nagy finish his fourth season running the Bears:

The 2021 season is lost, at 4-10, and outside of whatever rookie quarterback Justin Fields might flash, there is not much more to see from this team in this season. Within that organization there is a strong sense that the Bears will be moving on. Not much to be gained by putting that off another month, especially when, for the first time ever, teams will be free to begin interviewing candidates currently employed by NFL teams after Week 16. It’s right around the corner. Nagy knows it’s coming at some point. Coaching out the string — at the expense of getting a jump on their coaching search — seems counterintuitive to me.

As for early candidates to replace Nagy? La Canfora thinks these names will be on their radar:

  • Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
  • Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll
  • Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich
  • Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles
  • Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier
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Playoff projections: Bengals, Rams finish as division champions

John Breech is collecting SportsLine simulations to forecast the remainder of the 2021 season, and you might be surprised at how the super-computers have the playoff picture unfolding. Here are the projections for the final 14 postseason teams:

AFC: Chiefs (1), Patriots (2), Titans (3), Bengals (4), Colts (5), Bills (6), Chargers (7)
Just missed: Ravens (48.5% chance of playoffs), Steelers (27.7%), Raiders (14.7%)

NFC: Packers (1), Buccaneers (2), Cowboys (3), Rams (4), Cardinals (5), 49ers (6), Eagles (7)
Just missed: Saints (38.3%), Vikings (21%), Washington (8.7%)

QB Power Rankings: Aaron Rodgers back on top

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A-Rod is a legitimate MVP favorite for a reason; his seamless success has put Green Bay in a position to win 13 games for a third straight year. That’s why he’s back at No. 1 in our latest rundown of all 32 starting QBs. Here’s a peek at the new top 10:

  1. Aaron Rodgers (+1)
  2. Tom Brady (-1)
  3. Patrick Mahomes (+3)
  4. Justin Herbert (-1)
  5. Josh Allen (+1)
  6. Matthew Stafford (+2)
  7. Kyler Murray (-3)
  8. Lamar Jackson (+1)
  9. Joe Burrow (+1)
  10. Russell Wilson (-3)

Rapid-fire roundup: COVID updates, 2022 mock draft

Hungry for more NFL content? Good thing, because we’ve got other news right here:

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